As of 2017, 6% of the venture capitalists were women and only 2.7% women owned businesses received venture capital funding. Being a VC in this startup economy, where 90% of startups fail, is a tough job. However, it has noting to do with gender.
“Hi. I am Nin Desai. I head a crowd-funded technology venture capital firm, NIN Ventures (or NIN.VC). We invest in Series A & B rounds of disruptive technology companies.”
While there are number of factors responsible for success in the venture capital industry including timing and luck, top of that list is a disruptive technology. A disruptive technology is an innovation that changes the way an existing industry functions and also helps create a new market and value network, displacing an earlier technology or a way of doing business.
E.g. 3D printing has been used for rapid prototyping and is being applied in a number of industries today, including manufacturing, automotive, consumer, aerospace, defense, and especially healthcare. As the accuracy and materials market have improved, the medical space shows great potential for this technology. There are about 114,000 people currently on the organ recipient list in United States; and only 34,770 transplants were performed in 2017. Every 10 minutes a new person is added to the waiting list and 20 people die every day because they cannot find a right organ. What if 3D printing tissues can help save some of those lives?
Every sector at some point is up for disruption. E.g. Ad Tech. Over time as consumer behavior patterns changed, Digital has now replaced Traditional Television. People are now spending more time on their personal devices like phone, tablets, & PCs. An average American spends about 3 hours everyday on their personal devices, and this is the first time, the time spend on personal devices have surpassed time spent watching Television, which is a big change and opportunity for the Ad Tech Industry.
E.g. 4th Industrial Revolution. We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production. The Second used electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production. Now a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the 3D, 4D, digital, other smart and biological spheres.
However, great ideas and technology needs to be backed by a solid revenue model in order to attract customers as well as attain profitability for the company to be an attractive investment opportunity for a VC. E.g. our new initiative, Total Capitalism. A startup needs an ecosystem to thrive upon, thus it is very important for a company to understand the market dynamics, its impact on their industry, product, and also have a good understanding of the competitive landscape in order to achieve long term success. A disruptive technology needs to scale and a through analysis helps gage those risk and rewards.
A CEO is the captain of the ship; and at NIN.VC we start with an entrepreneur because entrepreneurs build companies and not the other way around. Some of the qualities VCs look for in an entrepreneur are ability to dream big with ideas that scale, certain personality traits and work ethics like being focused, disciplined, and hard working. It’s important to have industry expertise and knowledge or surround yourself with people that compliment. However, flexibility and choices an entrepreneur / the team makes determines the future of the company. An amazing entrepreneur with a disruptive technology, a solid revenue model, and good understanding of the competitive landscape goes to vain, if the company does not communicate effectively or has a good execution strategy.
Venture Capitalists are known to invest in unicorns that prove to be home run for their LPs and while there is no secret recipe for success, hope this helps in understanding the art and science behind each of that investment.
About the Author
Ms. Nin Desai, the President and CEO of NIN.VC, is an experienced fund manager and a technology geek. Her sweet spot is investing in disruptive technologies. Ms. Desai has been awarded 2015 CEO Of The Year – Illinois, for innovation and contribution to the Venture Capital & Private Equity industry by Acquisition International magazine and Private Equity Fund Manager to Watch for 2017 by Corporate America. She has been featured in VentureBeat, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Forbes, Inc, WGN’s After Hours with Rick Kogan, NBC Weekend Web with Charlie Wojciechowski, Bloomberg’s Taking Stock, Crowdfund Insider, and CIO Review to name a few. Ms. Desai’s experience spans all facets of mergers and acquisitions, and corporate finance including public offerings and private placements. She is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) and has a technical diploma in E-commerce by IBM, holds Series 7 and 63 licenses from NASD, and is a B.B.A and M.B.A in Finance/International Business from Loyola University of Chicago. She recently attended a leadership program in Private Equity and Venture Capital at Harvard Business School.